LotRO: When Ollena met Ranni
Ollena has always known she was born with a specific purpose, a most noble purpose, and she’s worked hard to ready herself for this all important mission. She comes from a very long line of the most stoic guardians, a family of defenders like no other. They never stop to question their purpose in life but instead choose to view it as a birth right. Every member of her family engages with gusto in the protection of their wards and will challenge any who oppose with a brutal assault designed to overwhelm the feint of heart. For the weak, this level of commitment and dedication is staggering, true enough, but not for stock as strong as Ollena’s line. They needn’t even stop to catch a breath, trained to ignore the pain, they just keep charging. The thrill of danger eggs on the warriors heart in each and every one of them and is why they take to heart the Guardian’s Pledge their good name is ingrained in.
Ollena’s purpose was to help a fair hunter named Ranni whose mission in life was to wage across the plains of Rohan and clear a good safe path for the downtrodden Rohirrim beset by countless battles from the Orcs. Ranni, though she tried, needed a protector herself. Ollena was to be that protector and this filled her with a sense of pride. She threw her entire being into training because anything less than the best would not be good enough! The people of Rohan needed her, too, after all, and disappoint was not in her vocabulary.
It occurred to her that she hadn’t yet met Ranni the Hunter and decided it might be a good idea so they could get a sense of each other before having to face Rohan together. Ranni was more than happy to oblige and made the trip far to the North all the way up to the cold desolation of the Misty Mountains. Ollena was a bit taken aback by what she saw when Ranni arrived.
No one had told Ollena that Ranni the Hunter was a Hobbit. “Halflings are harder to protect,” thought Ollena, “easy to lose sight of them in the heat of battle!” And what if they had to race to get somewhere before horrible dangers befell another Rohirrim? Would Ranni’s tiny little whip of a pony be able to keep up with Ollena’s robust horse? It wasn’t that Ollena didn’t like Hobbits. She very much did! Why, the very horse she proudly rode was a gift from the Mathom Society for her valiant efforts in ridding the Shire of those nasty goblins! It didn’t phase her in the least that this particular horse had grown so big no Hobbit could see fit to mount and ride it, no sir, it was a most generous gift of gratitude and had caused her to feel that much more protective of the little folk. This, however, was different. The scope of their combined missions was far greater than a few vermin roaming the fields north of the Plough and Stars and she had to make sure Ranni the Hunter was up to the task. An idea sprang to mind and she suddenly knew just how to test Ranni’s mettle.
Ranni the Hunter was both nervous and proud to accept the task Ollena had given her. She knew she had to prove to Ollena that she could hold her own but deep down in her little Hobbit heart she remembered her last battle with Cinder, a most ferocious salamander plaguing the waters west of Harwick. It didn’t end well for Ranni and although she was bound and determined to NEVER let that happen again, the memory filled her with fear. Still, Ollena would be with her and she knew that she would be fine.
“You must have a strong zeal to fight so you will slay 240 Giants in Giant Halls!” Ollena barked. “When you have proven you’ve zeal you will then slay 360 fissure worms to ensure me that you are one with honour.”
Ranni the Hunter mistakenly thought they would be doing these deeds together based on the sheer number of slayings demanded. Ollena, however, was both wary of Ranni and tired from a long fortnight of endless training. She had decided she would do no more than observe.
And that’s exactly what Ollena did! Observe! This caused much dismay for Ranni the Hunter as she’d been informed Ollena and her would be working together to protect Rohan. She could already feel another Cinder-battle on the horizon and nearly broke down in tears when an evil giant threw her off a mountain cliff. Once she’d completed the tasks Ollena had set before her she mounted her pony, tired and full of dread wondering how on earth this team could be successful. Sensing her trepidation Ollena was quick to set those fears aside.
“It is my hope that our little exercise has proven to you, as it has to me, that you are ready for the task at hand. If the need had arisen I would have stepped in with my shield and bashed whatever creature threatened you, halfling. That need did not present itself for you fared well enough on your own.”
“But these beasts are not like the ones roaming the plains of Rohan, Ollena. This proved nothing”, replied Ranni the Hunter.
“It proved there is a strong zeal in your little halfling heart and that you are one of honour. That is all I need to know. We will do well together as long as you keep your boots on. I do not miss the stench of hairy halfling feet.”
“I’m a Hobbit and would prefer you address me as such!”
Fearing hysterics would soon occur Ollena smacked Ranni the Hunter right across her little Hobbit face. “Fine. Hobbit it will be, Halfling.”
Ollena gave Ranni the Hunter a cloth to wipe her tear-streamed face and waited until she’d composed herself before continuing. “Tomorrow we shall venture forth to the lands called Evendim and slay more Giants. The trolls in Angmar will prove for training in the art of discipline as will the beasts in Sanur. Go and rest, ready yourself for adventure awaits us both.”
With a sigh Ranni the Hunter rode behind Ollena to the nearest outpost for a good nights sleep. She had a feeling she would be doing many deeds for Ollena before they reached the edges of Rohan.